Alonso Wins Inaugural Korean Grand PrixBy Paul Johnson on October 24, 2010, 1:30 pm
The first ever running of a Formula One race in Korea proved interesting and event-filled. The race almost didn’t happen, as it was mere days before the brand new circuit was approved for competition by the FIA, the sanctioning body of F1.
During the three practice sessions on Friday and Saturday, there were literally dozens of spins and off-course excursions by nearly every competitor. Every driver had to learn the circuit and, in addition, cope with the fresh asphalt that proved very slippery as it had little time to cure properly.
When it came time for qualifying, four of the five drivers in contention for the World Championship occupied the top spots. It appeared that Spain’s Fernando Alonso had pole position for Ferrari until, almost at the last second, Red Bull drivers Sebastian Vettel (Germany) and Mark Webber (Australia) bettered his time. Fourth was Lewis Hamilton (UK) for McLaren, with his team mate Jenson Button sixth.
Sunday’s race was delayed by rain, and then was red-flagged after just two laps due to worsening conditions. After the restart, the safety car led the field for another 15 laps before racing finally began on the 18th. Unfortunately for championship leader Webber, he spun and hit the wall on the 19th lap, ending his day.
There was much drama throughout the field, with spins, misguided passing attempts, and a few more crashes. Up front, the question was could the Ferrari of Alonso catch the Red Bull of Vettel. The cars were very evenly matched and, with the tires quite worn toward the end, it appeared that Alonso may have a shot at Vettel. Alonso actually got by on lap 46, but on the corner exit Vettel’s engine blew up, leaving Alonso with an unchallenged lead to the end.
With two races left on the calendar, Alonso vaults into the championship lead, with Webber, Hamilton, and Vettel close behind. Any of the four could win the F1 world championship at this point.